Sometimes, it just boggles my mind. I try to write serious, intelligent and thoughtful fiction with real science, believable characters and groundbreaking ideas. I believe there is a market for that kind of content. Yet, when I turn on the TV or go to the movies, I see boy wizards, vampires, monsters and superheroes. For every single movie like Solaris, we get the Marvel movie juggernaut. For every series like Person of Interest, we get a thousand variations of Jersey Shore. And, coming to a theatre near you: Godzilla. A creature that was silly when it was invented, based loosely on crap pseudo-science, fifty years ago.
Is there really nothing about real, intelligent science that’s more compelling than all of this shlock?
I think about this a lot these days, whenever I work on a new novel or TV script: While I’m trying to produce intelligent material, I know that most people won’t read it… because there are no space battles, alien attackers, Chosen One teenagers with extraordinary powers or killer robots. I have to ask myself: Am I wasting my time with smart, futurist fiction? Should I just throw my brains out the window and write a story with talking cats and time travelers?
As much as I hate to admit it, sensationalist stories will always be popular stories… the honey that draws ’em in like flies. Is that bad? Not really; it just is. But if you think about it one way… do you really want to compete with all that sensationalist content? Why not put a little effort in to being different?
I know my lack of popularity is not due to my content or quality, but my lack of effective promotion. If I created a sensationalist story, no one would find that either. So there’s no point in second-guessing my content; there’s only trying to find ways of getting it out there.
So go ahead… see Godzilla if you want. I don’t mind; after all, I expect to be on your radar pretty soon.